Yesterday, I was granted two remarkable graces.
My father, despite Saturday’s admonishment to get his affairs in order and prepare for the end, will be going home from the hospital tomorrow. Whether it is a respite from the decline or a sustainable improvement is yet to be seen, but he will be going home. He will sit on his white couch in his white living room and admire the San Gabriel Mountains at sunset; he will sit in his decrepit armchair in front of his antiquated television and watch something—maybe good, maybe bad, but certainly of his own choosing. He will sit in his own disheveled bed and work a crossword from the New York Times, grumbling over pop references but getting them nonetheless.
Being with him has been poignant and powerful, bleak and beautiful. The essential core of him is still there, loyal and kind and irascible and vulnerable; the externals are just stripped away.
I said there were two, and the second is a grace of a different color—an indulgence, perhaps. It is the vivid blue plus sign on the pregnancy test I took last night when we returned home from Los Angeles.
These clichéd cycles of birth and death are staring at me, with their soft pink skin and diapers and quivering hands, with their burdens of neediness and duty and love. I feel a sense of awe in their presence.